On October 18, Vyachaslau Arlouski, the head of the notorious GUBAZiK/GUBOPiK (Main Department for Combatting Organised Crime and Corruption) came up with a proposal to add some clauses to this year’s amendments to the law on citizenship. The amendments came into force in June.
The above mentioned changes which had been initiated by the Belarusian Interior Ministry were published on the National Legal Internet Portal of the Republic of Belarus in December, 2020. They do not apply to citizens of Belarus from birth, but only to those who have received it later. Under the amended law, a person can lose acquired citizenship if they are found guilty of extremist or terrorist activity as well as causing grievous harm to the interests of the state.
According to Vyachaslau Arlouski, the law still needs to be completed.
“People who fled our country, who hate it, who are now serving the interests of Western countries from abroad should not have the right to be called Belarusians. If they have turned their back on the country, why can’t the country turn its back on them? As a result, they will not be able to come to Belarus freely, they will not be able to participate in electoral processes and the socio-political life of the state,” the senior police officer said.
In mid January, ByPol, a campaign created by opposition-minded people who earlier belonged to Belarusian uniformed services, made public an audio recording in which a man whose voice bears a strong resemblance to the voice of Deputy Interior Minister Mikalai Karpyankou refers to the instructions allegedly given by Alyaksandr Lukashenka on how to treat protesters and opponents of the regime. Among other things, the man mentions would-be adding the dissidents’ data to a special database and setting up a camp where ‘the cockiest [protesters] are to be kept’. During the crackdown on post-election protests in 2020, Karpyankou was the head of GUBAZiK which is now believed to be the most odious unit of Belarusian security forces. ByPol believes that Mikalai Karpyankou ‘turned a once elite unit of the Interior Ministry into a gang of criminals’.
It was also reported that in August 2020, Ataka (Attack) groups were formed under the direction of Karpyankou under the GUBAZiK, whose task was to ‘go out into the streets’ to physically suppress and detain peaceful protesters. Four such groups included members of the Special Operations Forces of the Armed Forces of Belarus, in addition to the employees of GUBAZiK, said BYPOL. Thus, in September 2020, representatives of Ataka allegedly took part in the break-in of Viktar Babaryka’s office, Maryia Kalesnikava’s kidnapping, pressure on the ‘feminist’” and detentions during the Unity March.